Price protections stabilize winter natural gas bills in Long Beach
Long Beach and Signal Hill gas customers
LONG BEACH, CALIF. (OCTOBER 12, 2023) — The Long Beach Board of Utilities Commissioners announced a new contract to provide cost protection and stabilized natural gas pricing for Long Beach and Signal Hill ratepayers going into this winter season and extending for the next three winters.
“Long Beach families deserve hot food on the table and a way to heat their homes without breaking the bank,” says Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson. “Last winter, natural gas bills were astronomical throughout California. But due to the work of our Utilities Department, Long Beach residents and businesses will be assured of much more reasonable winter gas bills this coming winter.”
The average single-family home in Long Beach uses 65 therms of natural gas in January. This past winter, that level of natural gas consumption resulted in a monthly bill of $313.36. With new price protections now put in place by the Utilities Department, the average January 2024 natural gas bill will be closer to $108.20, about one third of what was charged last January.
“Long Beach has always prided itself on being an affordable city to live in, with quality and reliable public services,” says President Gloria Cordero. “We take utility pricing seriously, and when confronted with record setting high natural gas prices last year, our Board directed our staff to do their best to ensure that this never happens again.”
Looking for ways to protect our customers, Long Beach Utilities aggressively negotiated and locked in natural gas pricing at an average of $0.625 per therm for the next three winters — a mere fraction of the price paid for natural gas last winter. Winter natural gas pricing rose to $3.8101 per therm in January 2023.
California must import about 90 percent of its natural gas supply from out-of-state sources. As the municipal natural gas utility for Long Beach and Signal Hill, the Long Beach Utilities Department has continued to work on reducing and stabilizing both natural gas commodity and pipeline transportation costs, while maximizing storage to keep costs low for every customer.
After an unprecedented winter of high natural gas prices, on February 9, 2023, the Board directed the Long Beach Utilities Department General Manager to identify means of protecting Long Beach and Signal Hill ratepayers and to stabilize natural gas pricing for customers. In the same action, the Board authorized the Long Beach Utilities Department to enter into a Natural Gas Commodity Fixed Price Swap Agreement to provide the sought-after natural gas price protections. These actions enabled the LBUD to put in place significant protections to stabilize natural gas pricing for our ratepayers in Long Beach and Signal Hill for the next three years.
Customers can further lower winter natural gas bills by using less natural gas for heating, and relying instead on sunlight to warm the house when that is an option.